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10 things you need to know today: March 22, 2013
Three Marines die in Quantico shooting, USPS ordered to keep Saturday delivery, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Even if Saturday delivery ends, the USPS seems likely to continue hemorrhaging money.
Even if Saturday delivery ends, the USPS seems likely to continue hemorrhaging money. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. OBAMA CALLS FOR A PALESTINIAN STATE
President Obama on Thursday delivered a rousing defense of Palestinian statehood, in a speech that is being billed as the centerpiece of his first visit to Israel since taking office in 2009. Obama's call to revive moribund peace talks to forge a two-state solution was reportedly enthusiastically received by the audience of largely young Israelis at the Jerusalem Convention Center. The speech was seen as an appeal to a new generation of Israelis who don't share their elders' hardened mistrust of the Palestinians. "Political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do," Obama said. "You must create the change that you want to see." [New York Times]
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2. TEXAS SHOOTOUT MAY BE TIED TO COLORADO OFFICIAL'S KILLING
Colorado investigators are in Texas on Friday trying to determine whether a man who was gravely wounded in a shootout with police was linked to the killing of the head of Colorado's corrections department, Tom Clements. The injured man, Evan Spencer Abel, 28, was on life support after leading police on a 100-mile-per-hour car chase before crashing into a truck and allegedly opening fire on his pursuers. Abel, reportedly a paroled former Colorado prison inmate, was driving a black Cadillac matching the description of a car seen in Clements' neighborhood Tuesday night shortly before Clements was shot and killed as he answered his front door. [Associated Press]
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3. THREE MARINES DIE IN APPARENT MURDER, SUICIDE
A Marine shot and killed two fellow service members at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va., before apparently killing himself, a spokesman for the Marines said early Friday. The shooting began around 11 p.m. Thursday, when a man shot and killed another male Marine, then barricaded himself inside a barracks near the base's Officer Candidate School, starting a standoff with law-enforcement officers. Base residents were ordered to stay inside. The lockdown was lifted around 3 a.m., after authorities entered the barracks, and found the bodies of a female Marine and the suspected gunman. [Reuters]
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4. SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS PRO-ASSAD CLERIC AT MOSQUE
A suicide bomber reportedly launched an attack inside an ancient Damascus mosque on Thursday, killing at least 42 people, including a cleric, Mohamed al-Buti, who was a leading supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an outspoken critic of the rebels fighting to overthrow him. Syrian media reported that more than 80 other people were wounded in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib condemned the bombing, saying it was a crime. The death of al-Buti, a Sunni Muslim scholar, was seen as a significant blow to Assad, a member of Syria's Alawite minority who is fighting mostly Sunni rebels. [Voice of America]
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5. BIDEN RENEWS CALLS FOR ASSAULT-RIFLE BAN
Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg renewed their calls for a ban on military-style, semiautomatic rifles on Thursday, days after Senate Democrats stripped the measure, vehemently opposed by the gun lobby, from a package of gun-control legislation. Biden and Bloomberg, joined by relatives of three of the victims in December's Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, said the assault-weapons ban — along with outlawing ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds, and background checks on all gun buyers — would save lives. [Bloomberg]
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6. CONGRESS TELLS POSTAL SERVICE TO CONTINUE SATURDAY DELIVERY
Lawmakers on Thursday ordered the U.S. Postal Service to keep delivering first-class mail six days a week, potentially foiling a Postal Service plan to end Saturday deliveries to save money. The agency lost $16 billion a year, and says it can save $2 billion a year by delivering mail and magazines just five days a week (it still planned to send out packages on Saturdays). Several polls suggest a majority of the public supports ending Saturday delivery, and Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer says it's necessary to help keep the mail service from burdening taxpayers. [Reuters]
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7. RUSSIA REFUSES TO HELP CYPRUS
Cyprus' finance minister has returned from Russia empty handed after spending two days pleading for a financial rescue. "The talks have ended as far as the Russian side is concerned," said Russia's finance minister, Anton Siluanov. The rejection left Cyprus' leaders scrambling to come up with a Plan B after lawmakers in the cash-strapped eastern Mediterranean island nation rejected a $13 billion European Union bailout plan that included a controversial one-time tax on all bank accounts (many of which belong to wealthy Russians), which would have raised $7.5 billion toward the rescue. The European Central Bank has threatened to pull the plug on Cypriot banks on Monday if the country's government doesn't come up with an alternative plan. [CNBC]
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8. RAJARATNAM'S BROTHER INDICTED
Rengan Rajaratnam, a younger brother of jailed hedge fund tycoon Raj Rajaratnam, was indicted Thursday on insider trading charges. Prosecutors say the younger Rajaratnam was a pawn in the vast insider-trading conspiracy for which his brother was convicted two years ago. "As alleged, Rengan Rajaratnam and his brother shared more than DNA; they also shared a penchant for insider trading," said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan. Rengan Rajaratnam, 42, has not been arrested yet. He's reportedly living in Brazil, and U.S. authorities are working on using extradition laws to return him to the United States. [New York Times]
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9. BLACKBERRY AIMS FOR COMEBACK WITH NEW SMARTPHONE
BlackBerry is launching its latest smartphone — the Z10 — on Friday in a make-or-break effort to regain some of the ground it has lost to Apple's iPhone and an army of Android devices. "We will fight for each and every individual," Thorsten Heins, the company's chief executive, said. BlackBerry once dominated the global smartphone market, but it held just 10.3 percent of the market in 2011, and fell to a measly 4.6 percent in 2012. Heins says his company isn't looking to surge past Apple and Samsung — it just wants the Z10 to keep current customers happy and lure back some former fans. [Washington Post]
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10. UPSETS IN THE AIR AT MARCH MADNESS
In a gripping start to March Madness, Harvard won its first-ever game in the men's NCAA basketball tournament on Thursday, upsetting New Mexico, 68-62. Gonzaga, a No. 1 seed, nearly lost to No. 16 seeded Southern University in the NCAA basketball tournament on Thursday. It would have been the first time that a top seed in any bracket had been knocked out by a No. 16 seed since the tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The game was tied at 56 with just two minutes remaining, but Gonzaga, contending with a crowd cheering for the underdog, squeaked by with a 64-58 win to advance to the next round. "That crowd gets going," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. "Everyone wants to see that first 1-16 loss." [Associated Press, ESPN]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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